.....if you ask people who buy honey if they think that most bees are fed sugar and hfcs and that most bees are medicated, you will invariably get the answers of "what?" And "how do you medicate a bee?" To the customers, most assume that all bees are treatment free.
Most of our customers and prospective customers who buy honey from another beekeeper or health food store assure us that their beekeeper would never do such a thing....there I'd a disconnect between production and consumer perception. Which is fringe?
That is so true what you say deknow.
I have a friend who makes tinctures, salvae, soaps, etc ... She was very proud of her beeswax salvae which she made from foundation wax sheets. When i explained her that all wax foundation has herbicides and pesticides in it she was shocked. I did explain her that it is easy to get your own free comb in a top bar hive. The next she did is build a KTBH and will get bees next year. Its a start. One step at a time. Keep on informing the public and follow your heart no matter who sais what.
When I tell someone I am a beekeeper, 9 out of 10 people will ask me how the honey bees are doing with the mites and diseases affecting them, so it is good that they are aware of that, but outside of that, they don't realize that bees are fed syrup and hfcs like deknow said, and that they are medicated by most beekeepers, and most commercially available beeswax is tainted with the medication residue. One of the health food stores where I sell my honey, they are extremely particular about the ingredients in everything that is on their shelves, if I used anything on my bees that they didn't like, and was honest with them about it, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't be selling honey there anymore. Obviously, they were thrilled when I assured them that my bees and honey were untainted with anything that shouldn't be there naturally. John
Honey is a food and it is important to remember that when selling it.
I have never had a customer ask me about treatments I use on my bees or any potential residues in the honey.
I deliver unheated lightly strained honey to a wholesale account and it promptly is heated in an effort to slow down crystallization.
I attend a fair put on by an organization that does organic certification and the big honey vendor there is a migratory commercial operation that uses medications.
I have hives located on an organic farm with a farm store and they sell the honey of the above vendor. I couldn't begin to supply them with the quantity they sell.
My point is, the average consumer hears "honey" and thinks all is well. Very few people in this neck of the woods are concerned with what might be in it.
I don't think that there is anyone who doesn't think that everything we put on our table is contaminated with something, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, or hormones, they just accept it and don't question it, it's the new normal. Honey is just another food item, it gets thrown into the shopping cart along with everything else, most people don't look at it any differently. There is a growing number of consumers who go out of their way to educate themselves on what is going on with our food supply, and they seek out a more pure product, and will pay more for it. Hopefully this trend will continue. John
I have had several Moroccan customers....they come to my table and ask if I have honey from bees that are not fed sugar....I consistently hear that the quality of honey produced in Morocco was excellent ....until the beekeepers started to feed sugar. Now they come to us and send it home. I had a Saudi Arabian man who was headed home later in the day...tasted the honey, and bought a case of 24 1/2lb jars to bring home for gifts.
Depending upon what kind of a market you are selling to many people can be very well educated. In addition, I have always enjoyed exlaining the difference to those that might not be aware of raw honey vs. commercial grade honey. I do not mean to say that honey produced and bottled by commercial beekeepers is an inferior product, but what happens to it after it is sold in bulk might leave a lot to be desired. We have never had a problem here marketing our local N.M. honey as a premium grade product, because thats what it is. Our production and bottling standards is what sets us apart.
"Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti
More and more people will eventually know about the truth. One day.
My first neighbourhad a swarm this summer settle under his roof and he simply let them be. Later they disapeared he said, probably rodents.
Anyway I said that i would like to check in spring if the nest is still there and he said theyprobably built that round thing.
I told him that wasps and hornets build the round nest and bees build wax comb.
He asked me in honest shock "can they on their own build the square wax comb!?"
There are many kids in Sweden who think the milk comes from the store and not from a chained cow.
I see many reasons for getting out of a city lifeand claiming some land which needs to be turned into Organic Soil once again.
This thread is suffering from great fragmentation LOL
95% of "Treatment Free beekeeping" seems to consist of preaching to others the ills of treatments, and very little is about sharing actionable methods to get there. Actual success rate is difficult to establish: Once one factors out the hordes of "First year treatment free" beekeepers, one is left with a handful of success stories remaining. These success stories are can be difficult to evaluate, given no consistent meaning of what "no treatments" means.
It is to the advantage of the TF movement to sort the true-successes from the wishful-successes, and take steps to understand the factors involved.
Randy Oliver's information gathering initiative is a step in that direction.
Randy is a great example of the treadmill...on paper he would like to be treatment free...but the way he approaches problem solving associated with keeping bees and running a business will always find an economic reason to use a treatment. That isn't an insult, it isn't my problem, and it's not my fault. Most things in life require trade offs...to say you want to be treatment free, or you wish you didn't have to use treatments is all well and good, but what are you willing to give up to get there? The only way to actually be treatment free is to have used your last treatment.
I can't tell other people what to do. I can't tell other people what they consider treatment free. I can't tell other people not to treat their bees. I can't herd "treatment free beekeepers" into a group message...and i wouldn't want to. What is the best part of the conferences is that there is much disagreement, and many different approaches. I can state my opinion online or in print...the whole point of a conference is to hear many sides and many experiences. I can't do much more than finance and plan a curriculum for 6 days...what else do you think I should do?
didn't know you had a book dean. where can i find info about the book and the conferences?
disclaimer: novice beekeeper here who knows just enough to be dangerous
The book is "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping" (written with my wife, "Ramona on Beesource):
The conference dates and some of the speakers for this year's event are on our website, http://BeeUntoOthers.com ...you can also read Kirk Webster's review (titled "the best beekeeping meeting i ever attended") on his website, http://kirkwebster.com .